Church Discipline

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Church Discipline

Postby Abiding in His Word on Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:52 am

Does scripture endorse discipline of church members?

And does the church you attend have such a practice?

And if so, are the specific reasons for such an action provided in writing to the members?

And lastly, if your church does endorse discipline and does clarify the reasons it might be imposed, who applies this discipline and how?

Please be specific in your answers if possible. :wink:
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Re: Church Discipline

Postby Mr Baldy on Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:04 pm

Abiding in His Word wrote:Does scripture endorse discipline of church members?

And does the church you attend have such a practice?

And if so, are the specific reasons for such an action provided in writing to the members?

And lastly, if your church does endorse discipline and does clarify the reasons it might be imposed, who applies this discipline and how?

Please be specific in your answers if possible. :wink:


Hi Abiding,

Scripture is quite clear about endorsing discipline. Here is an example in Matthew 18:15-17:

Discipline and Prayer

15) “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16) But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.17) If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.


Also 1 Corinthians 5

Immorality Rebuked

1) It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. 2) You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. 3) For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. 4) In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5) I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? 7) Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 8) Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9) I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10) I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11) But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13) But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.


1 Timothy 5:20 reads:

Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.


And 2 Thessalonians 3:15 reads:

14) If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15) Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.


Now the second question you have asked is does the Church one attends have such a practice. I write to you that the Church I attend does have rules consistent with Church Discipline as recorded in Scripture, and this information is provided to any potential member prior to joining the Church.

The Church I attend does indeed endorse the discipline, and clarifies how it might be imposed - it is done by the Elders of the Church and the Pastor as a collective group. Now let me qualify what I am speaking about. Let's say that one of the members were involved in an Adulterous affair. First it would have to be proven, or admitted to by the person(s) involved. There would be prayer for this person(s), and they would be asked to repent. He or She could still be a member, and by their word that they have repented of this sin - and have totally left it alone; or in other words there is no evidence that the sin of Adultery is still going on then the member is still in good standing. If there is evidence that there was no repentance, and the sin continued; prayer would continue for that person(s) there would be a time for a restoration process to be completed and help and/or assistance would be provided. If the person(s) just flat out refused to depart from his or her continuous lifestyle of sin - then they would be asked to leave.

Now if the sin were a sin that was Criminal in Nature - then the local Police would be summoned. Especially in cases where there is an abused family member.

Let me also say that when one speaks of "Church Discipline" the average person initially believes that wow - this sounds like a Cult, as I did. But when I began to understand that Church Discipline is Scriptural and very necessary, I found a Church that isn't all up in your business, but if you bring it to their attention - then they will act upon it.
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Re: Church Discipline

Postby Abiding in His Word on Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:46 pm

Mr. Baldy, thank you for your response to my questions. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask for clarification of several points you made.

1) Regarding Matt. 18

This passage provides a way for resolution to occur ideally between two people, one who has sinned against the other. also ideal is for the resolution to happen in private between just the two people involved. Should this effort fail, then the help of two or more will be enlisted as witnesses to the resistance evidently.

Then how is this difficulty "told" to the whole church? In other words, what procedure follows if you know.

2) 1 Cor. 5

This very serious sin was flagrantly ignored by the Corinthians so Paul's admonishment is certainly understandable.

3) 1 Tim. 5:20

Previous verses in context is speaking to treatment, respect, and honor due to the older, senior, mature (elder) members of the congregation. I know many believe elders to be a title and official office of the church but I don't. At any rate, the principle of two or three witnesses is emphasized in verse 19. So if a number of people bring the same complaint, and the person continues, then it should be brought before the congregation.

Is that your understanding? The principle of two or three witnesses is important throughout the Bible because it serves as a protection against false accusations. Can I assume your church abides by the two or three witness rule?

4) 3 Thess. 3:15

This passage deals with those unwilling to work, but rather spend their time in an undisciplined manner; i.e. being busybodies. Paul mentions busybodies in 1 Tim. 5 as well.

My question regarding this verse then, is how does information regarding an undisciplined manner of living and a pattern of being a busybody get reported to the church? How can we know who in the congregation is refusing to work or is living in an undisciplined manner. And what does undisciplined mean specifically? How can that be known?

Now let me qualify what I am speaking about. Let's say that one of the members were involved in an Adulterous affair. First it would have to be proven, or admitted to by the person(s) involved. There would be prayer for this person(s), and they would be asked to repent. He or She could still be a member, and by their word that they have repented of this sin - and have totally left it alone; or in other words there is no evidence that the sin of Adultery is still going on then the member is still in good standing. If there is evidence that there was no repentance, and the sin continued; prayer would continue for that person(s) there would be a time for a restoration process to be completed and help and/or assistance would be provided. If the person(s) just flat out refused to depart from his or her continuous lifestyle of sin - then they would be asked to leave.


See, I doubt most adultery can be proven. It's a sin committed in secret/private. Therefore, what could be the "evidence" of repentance? How could anyone possibly know?

Again, I thank you for posting these examples of how your church implements discipline. I do, however, find most of it ambiguous and vague. Are the particular sins that would cause discipline clearly stated in the membership documents? In other words, is the sin of adultery, lying, stealing, gossiping, being a busybody, refusal to work, living an undisciplined lifestyle listed? I read that there are something like 124 sins noted in the NT. Who decides which sins warrant discipline?
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Re: Church Discipline

Postby Mr Baldy on Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:11 pm

Abiding in His Word wrote:Mr. Baldy, thank you for your response to my questions. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask for clarification of several points you made.1) Regarding Matt. 18This passage provides a way for resolution to occur ideally between two people, one who has sinned against the other. also ideal is for the resolution to happen in private between just the two people involved. Should this effort fail, then the help of two or more will be enlisted as witnesses to the resistance evidently. Then how is this difficulty "told" to the whole church? In other words, what procedure follows if you know.


Hi Abiding,
In reference to Matthew 18 - from what I understand, if a resolution cannot be handled privately between two individuals, and witnesses are summoned - and it still fails, meaning the one found at fault fails to ask for forgiveness then the Pastor as the overall deciding official would ask that person not to come back to the Church until forgiveness can be reconciled between the two. And depending on how egregious the sin was, the Police may be summoned . It would never be announced to the whole Church. (But people talk)

Abiding in His Word wrote:3) 1 Tim. 5:20 Previous verses in context is speaking to treatment, respect, and honor due to the older, senior, mature (elder) members of the congregation. I know many believe elders to be a title and official office of the church but I don't. At any rate, the principle of two or three witnesses is emphasized in verse 19. So if a number of people bring the same complaint, and the person continues, then it should be brought before the congregation. Is that your understanding? The principle of two or three witnesses is important throughout the Bible because it serves as a protection against false accusations. Can I assume your church abides by the two or three witness rule?


Yes - to a certain degree, I believe that my Church does abide by the two ore three witness rule - however, the facts must be corroborated with additional evidence. Depending on the allegation normally some sort of physical evidence would be necessary - but if it is a trusted member or Elder bringing forth the allegation, then certainly that carries more weight in that the Pastor would at least look into the matter. Again, it would be in private as not to embarrass the alleged offender - and if Criminal in nature, again the Pastor would notify the Police. He's told us that many, many times.

Abiding in His Word wrote:4) 3 Thess. 3:15 This passage deals with those unwilling to work, but rather spend their time in an undisciplined manner; i.e. being busybodies. Paul mentions busybodies in 1 Tim. 5 as well. My question regarding this verse then, is how does information regarding an undisciplined manner of living and a pattern of being a busybody get reported to the church? How can we know who in the congregation is refusing to work or is living in an undisciplined manner. And what does undisciplined mean specifically? How can that be known?


That "busybody" question is a hard one to answer - cause we have a few of those. The Pastor normally preaches about it from time to time - it slows down a bit after any particular sermon on it; but like anything else it starts up again. Kind of hard to discipline someone over that - especially if it's just small talk gossip. But if it is slanderous - then I'm sure that the Pastor would address that. When you ask about "refusing to work" - well we haven't had that addressed as far as any particular individual - but the Pastor has mentioned that if a man doesn't work - then he shouldn't eat.
As far as one living an undisciplined lifestyle - our Church requires that we live holy lives. That is not something that we as a congregation go out to look for in an individual - the specific sin would have to come up on any certain person. If it did - then it would be addressed.

I once attended a Reformed Church. They were very much into "Church Discipline" insomuch as I believed wholeheartedly that they were a Cult - and I still do. I subsequently left that congregation to find the one that I am at now. In all honesty my radar goes up extremely high when I initially hear of any Church or Body of Christ mentioning "Church Discipline". As in the Reformed Church I attended. It put me on alert when the Pastor kept on mentioning it. After about a year - and seeing repeated reports of members being excommunicated; I knew it was a Cult.

Abiding in His Word wrote:See, I doubt most adultery can be proven. It's a sin committed in secret/private. Therefore, what could be the "evidence" of repentance? How could anyone possibly know?


I agree with you to a certain degree. Have you ever heard of the saying "your sin will find you out"? When it comes down to Adultery people get careless. Even if it's just strictly physical - so one thinks; but if one keeps on sleeping with the person they are committing this sin with - then eventually the feelings will come out. I don't care who the person is. You just can't be with someone on that level over and over and over again - and think that it's only a "physical thing". No, it's more to it than that. I've seen many of men and women fall because of this particular sin, and when they let their guards down by being "careless" - or someone gets more emotional than the other, then the sin is out of the bag. People talk - and so do adulterous men and women - they always tell someone at some point in time.

Abiding in His Word wrote: Are the particular sins that would cause discipline clearly stated in the membership documents? In other words, is the sin of adultery, lying, stealing, gossiping, being a busybody, refusal to work, living an undisciplined lifestyle listed? I read that there are something like 124 sins noted in the NT. Who decides which sins warrant discipline?


My answer to that question is no. The sins are not identified by title. The Pastor is clear however that if something Criminal in nature has been committed, he will notify the local Police. The Pastor and the Elders as a collective Group have decided - as far as I know what warrants discipline - which has been nothing more than asking the person to repent, or stay away until they can. If they are repeat offenders of the same type sin - then they will not be welcome back.
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Re: Church Discipline

Postby BeTheMoon on Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:08 pm

Mr Baldy wrote:
Abiding in His Word wrote:See, I doubt most adultery can be proven. It's a sin committed in secret/private. Therefore, what could be the "evidence" of repentance? How could anyone possibly know?


I agree with you to a certain degree. Have you ever heard of the saying "your sin will find you out"? When it comes down to Adultery people get careless. Even if it's just strictly physical - so one thinks; but if one keeps on sleeping with the person they are committing this sin with - then eventually the feelings will come out. I don't care who the person is. You just can't be with someone on that level over and over and over again - and think that it's only a "physical thing". No, it's more to it than that. I've seen many of men and women fall because of this particular sin, and when they let their guards down by being "careless" - or someone gets more emotional than the other, then the sin is out of the bag. People talk - and so do adulterous men and women - they always tell someone at some point in time.


Lets not forget about pornography (which is doing a lot of damage to the church today). It's still adultery. Can we know?

Just as the works of the flesh are made evident, the works of the Spirit are made evident too (Eph 5). Stagnant water over time will get pretty nasty (algae, odor, dead animals, etc); a stagnant believer will get pretty nasty too. Look to the fruit.
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